We all know them and feel them – those emotions that we don’t want to feel because when we feel them, it doesn’t feel at all good. These so-called negative or toxic emotions are simply feelings with a judgment attached to them, as are the positive emotions. That is, it’s a feeling we recognise and put a label on. And these labels are either positive or negative.
Some positive emotions are :
Happiness, joy, confidence, excitement, inner peace, serenity, gratitude, optimism.
Some negative emotions are:
Fear, anger, resentment, revenge, anxiety, sadness, guilt, shame, jealousy, envy, hopelessness, despair and abandonment.
There is nothing actually toxic about any of these so-called negative emotions, because they are just feelings that come up in us that are attached to how we perceive what is happening in our lives in any particular moment, and they will always be attached to a thought. Why do we judge or label them as negative? Because many of these feelings have past traumas attached to them, and most of us learned, from when we were very young, that it was not ok to feel this way or display the feeling. If we did, we were not a worthwhile person. Most of us were taught to be ASHAMED of these feelings, so we get a double whammy – the past trauma attached to the feeling and the shame we have about feeling it! How often do you think to yourself “I shouldn’t feel this way. I’m a spiritual person and should be above this”? Right? Wrong! When we repress these emotions – we put them away, and pretend they’re not there – the emotion ultimately has control over us because it remains in our energy field. Conversely, whatever we own, we have control over. Whatever we deny or repress ultimately has control over us. Think of people who explode with anger or rage. This is what happens when we repress our emotions – we lose control eventually. So we can’t change anything until we claim it and acknowledge it.
When we accept ourselves and what we feel in this moment, we have the ability to change.
Every feeling has or had a positive purpose once upon a time. For example, sometimes we need to feel angry to propel us out of an undesirable situation, or to feel guilty in order to recognise a mistake.
We each have within us the full range of emotions. Have you ever heard yourself say “that’s okay, don’t worry about it” when deep down you feel hurt or angry, but you just can’t express it? That’s because you’ve been taught to hide these emotions – by our families, school, and society in general. Why were we encouraged to do this? Because we fear our emotions – we fear them so much that we will do anything NOT to face them and feel them. So frightened is our ego mind, that feeling these feelings can feel life-threatening!
That’s what addictions are all about. They stop us from feeling these feelings. But there is nothing wrong with a negative emotion because they’re just a feeling. ACTING on the negative feeling is a whole other matter.
The ONLY way to process and release a negative feeling is to ACCEPT IT AND FEEL IT. When we choose to own and feel our feelings, we allow them to flow through us and out of us because energy constantly flows through us. When we RESIST a negative emotion, it becomes stuck energy that doesn’t move through us. Eventually, our body and mind becomes like a clothes dryer with a clogged-up lint filter. The built-up blocked emotions eventually turn into depression or serious illness.
A good thing to do whenever you feel a negative emotion, is to place your hand on your heart for 20-30 seconds and connect with the present moment. Feel the feeling and breathe through it. Then remember a time when you felt loved and safe. This literally changes the wiring of your mind!
We cannot talk about these emotions without mentioning our wounded child. Many of these emotions are from a very young place within us. The more an emotion packs a punch, the more likely it is that you’re holding a childhood wound. When you recognise and pay attention to your wounded child, she/he no longer needs to run the show. We all have a mother/nurturer archetype in us too. When your wounded child is triggered and hurting, learn to comfort him/her. Be the parent you longed for.
Let’s shine some light on our negative emotions. Just by acknowledging them and owning them, we’re releasing a lot of the trauma, shame and self-hatred associated with them.
Fear – fear is the basis of every negative emotions. It’s the opposite of love and is based on the belief that we are not safe in the world.
Anger – anger is resistance to the What Is.
Resentment – longstanding anger that has built up over time.
Revenge – the ego need to lash out and make the other person hurt.
Anxiety – fear that comes from not trusting the process of life, and the inability to be in the moment and trust that the future will take care of itself.
Sadness – comes from a sense of loss or disappointment.
Guilt – feeling that we have done something wrong.
Shame – feeling that WE are essentially wrong.
Jealousy – the fear of having someone we love taken away from us.
Envy – wishing we could have what someone else has because we see ourselves as not enough.
Hopelessness – a sense that there is no hope.
Despair – immense hopelessness where we don’t know if we can go on.
Abandonment – feeling let down and totally alone.
Rejection – feeling not wanted. The greatest human fear is fear of rejection.
So as to feel your emotions and allow them move through you, I recommend a technique called BODY FOCUSSING.
When you feel an uncomfortable emotion, close your eyes.
Where do you feel the sensation in your body?
Drop the story in your mind and simply feel the physical feeling.
Surrender to it. Accept it. Say hello to it.
Does this feeling have a shape/colour/texture?
Is it moving or still?
Is there anything it wants to tell you? Sit for a few minutes – you may get a memory, a message, a symbol – or you may not. The outcome is not the point; the process is the point. The most important thing is that you have felt and honoured your emotion, and are therefore allowing it to move through you and eventually out of you.